Occupation of German Samoa
The Occupation of Samoa was the takeover and subsequent administration of the Pacific colony of German Samoa
German Samoa
German Samoa was a German protectorate from 1900 to 1914, consisting of the islands of Upolu, Savai'i, Apolima and Manono, now wholly within the independent state Samoa, formerly Western Samoa...

 in August 1914 by an expeditionary force from New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 called the Samoa Expeditionary Force and New Zealand's first action in World War I. On 7 August 1914, the British government indicated that it would be a great and urgent Imperial service if New Zealand forces seized the wireless station near Apia, one of several German radio stations used by the German East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...

. Since the days of Seddon
Richard Seddon
Richard John Seddon , sometimes known as King Dick, is to date the longest serving Prime Minister of New Zealand. He is regarded by some, including historian Keith Sinclair, as one of New Zealand's greatest political leaders....

, New Zealand had aspired to control Samoa, and in 1913 General Godley
Alexander Godley
General Sir Alexander John Godley GCB, KCMG was a First World War general, best known for his role as commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force...

 had discussed the seizure of German Samoa with British military authorities.

A 1,370-man force sailed on 15 August 1914. The convoy stopped in Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 to collect some guides and interpreters, and to rendezvous with the battlecruiser
Battlecruisers were large capital ships built in the first half of the 20th century. They were developed in the first decade of the century as the successor to the armoured cruiser, but their evolution was more closely linked to that of the dreadnought battleship...

 HMAS Australia
HMAS Australia (1911)
HMAS Australia was one of three s built for the defence of the British Empire. Ordered by the Australian government in 1909, she was launched in 1911, and commissioned as flagship of the fledgling Royal Australian Navy in 1913...

, cruiser HMAS Melbourne
HMAS Melbourne (1912)
HMAS Melbourne was a Town class light cruiser operated by the Royal Australian Navy . Commissioned in 1913, the cruiser served during World War I. She was paid off in 1928, and broken up for scrap in 1929.-Design and construction:...

 and the French cruiser Montcalm
French armoured cruiser Montcalm
The Montcalm was an armoured cruiser of the French Navy.Before even completing her trials, she ferried the President of the Republic, Émile Loubet, to Russia...

. The escorting "P" class cruisers Philomel
HMS Philomel (1890)
HMS Philomel was a Pearl-class cruiser. She was the sixth ship of that name and served with the Royal Navy from her commissioning in 1890 until 1914, when she was transferred to the New Zealand Navy with whom she served until 1947...

, Pyramus
HMS Pyramus (1897)
HMS Pyramus was a Pelorus class cruiser of the Royal Navy. There were eleven ""Third class"" protected cruisers in the class, which was designed by Sir William White...

 and Psyche
HMAS Psyche
HMAS Psyche was a Pelorus class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy at the end of the 19th century. She was transferred to the fledgling Royal Australian Navy in 1912.-Design and construction:...

 were no match for Admiral Maximilian von Spee
Maximilian von Spee
Vice Admiral Maximilian Reichsgraf von Spee was a German admiral. Although he was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, the counts von Spee belonged to the prominent families of the Rhenish nobility. He joined the Kaiserliche Marine in 1878. In 1887–88 he commanded the Kamerun ports, in German West...

’s East Asia Squadron with the armoured cruisers SMS Scharnhorst
SMS Scharnhorst
SMS Scharnhorst was an armored cruiser of the Imperial German Navy, built at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. She was the lead ship of her class, which also included her sister . Scharnhorst and her sister were enlarged versions of the preceding ; they were equipped with a greater...

 and SMS Gneisenau
SMS Gneisenau
SMS Gneisenau was an armored cruiser of the German navy, part of the two-ship . She was named after August von Gneisenau, a Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars. The ship was laid down in 1904 at the AG Weser dockyard in Bremen, launched in June 1906, and completed in March 1908, at a cost of...

. Defence Minister James Allen
James Allen (New Zealand)
Sir James Allen, GCMG, KCB was a prominent New Zealand politician and diplomat. He held a number of the most important political offices in the country, including Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was also New Zealand's Minister of Defence during World War I.-Early life:Allen...

 recalls that the government
Reform Government of New Zealand
The Reform Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1912 to 1928. It is perhaps best remembered for its anti-trade union stance in the Waihi miners' strike of 1912 and a dockworkers' strike the following year...

 was worried about the German Fleet, but McGibbon says that there was no basis for the assertion in the 1923 history and subsequently by Michael King
Michael King
Michael King, OBE was a New Zealand popular historian, author and biographer. He wrote or edited over 30 books on New Zealand topics, including The Penguin History of New Zealand, which was the most popular New Zealand book of 2004.-Life:King was born in Wellington to Eleanor and Commander Lewis...

 that the force narrowly escaped disaster, with the German cruisers being well to the north rather than only 15 miles (25 km) distant.

The force landed at Apia on 29 August 1914. Although Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 refused to officially surrender the islands, no resistance was offered and the occupation took place without any fighting. The first seizure of a German colony was four days earlier at Togoland
Togoland was a German protectorate in West Africa from 1884 to 1914, encompassing what is now the nation of Togo and most of what is now the Volta Region of Ghana. The colony was established during the period generally known as the "Scramble for Africa"...

, captured as part of the West Africa Campaign
West Africa Campaign (World War I)
The West Africa Campaign of World War I consisted of two small and fairly short military operations to capture the German colonies in West Africa: Togoland and Kamerun.-Overview:...

, thus nullifying claims that German Samoa was the first enemy territory to fall to British imperial forces. The German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau hastened to Samoa after Admiral von Spee learned of the occupation. He arrived off Apia on 14 September 1914, three days after the departure of the Dominion cruisers and transports. The admiral was informed that approximately 1,600 New Zealand volunteers were on Upolu, poorly trained and miserable in their woolen winter-weight uniforms, and that he could easily recapture the colony. However, he determined that a landing would only be of temporary advantage in an Allied dominated sea and headed for Tahiti
Bombardment of Papeete
The Bombardment of Papeete occurred in French Polynesia when German warships attacked on 22 September 1914, during World War I. The German armoured cruisers and entered the port of Papeete on the island of Tahiti and sank the French gunboat and freighter Walkure before bombarding the town's...

, then rejoined the other ships of his fleet and moved on toward South America.

After escorting the Samoa force, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force
Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force
The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force was a small volunteer force of approximately 2,000 men, raised in Australia shortly after the outbreak of the First World War to seize and destroy German wireless stations in German New Guinea in the south-west Pacific...

 sailed to Port Moresby
Port Moresby
Port Moresby , or Pot Mosbi in Tok Pisin, is the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea . It is located on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, on the southeastern coast of the island of New Guinea, which made it a prime objective for conquest by the Imperial Japanese forces during 1942–43...

 and met the Queensland contingent aboard the transport Kanowna
TSS Kanowna
TSS Kanowna, was an Australian steamer built during 1902. The 6,993-ton, long Kanowna was constructed by William Denny and Brothers of Dumbarton, Scotland, and had a twin screw design.-Operational history:...

. The force then sailed for German New Guinea
German New Guinea
German New Guinea was the first part of the German colonial empire. It was a protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when it fell to Australia following the outbreak of the First World War. It consisted of the northeastern part of New Guinea and several nearby island groups...

 on 7 September, for another takeover of a German colony.

The story that Francis Fisher
Francis Fisher
Francis Marion Bates Fisher was a New Zealand Member of Parliament from Wellington. He was known as Rainbow Fisher for his frequent changes of political allegiance. Fisher was an internationally successful tennis player.-Early life:...

 then Minister of Marine recalled (as published by Downie Stewart in 1937) that the government asked London what defences there were in Samoa and was told by the British Colonial Secretary to consult Whitaker's Almanac was not supported by a search of papers in Archives New Zealand. The authorities in Melbourne advised that Samoa had a German-officered constabulary of about 80 men and a gunboat, which could have been augmented by seamen off merchant ships.

The force occupied German Samoa until 1920. New Zealand then governed the islands from 1920 to independence in 1962 as a League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

Class C Mandate and after 1945 a United Nations Trust Territory.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.